Level One Oolong

Level One Oolong, Tie Guanyin.

Level One Oolong, Dark Roast, from Yin xiang hua xia tea. Origin: Anxi; Season: Autumn; Harvest elevation: 1200-1500m.

Working my way through green teas, it seems I cannot resist the siren call of Oolong!

There are different types of Oolong, but the most well known is called Tie Guanyin, also sometimes called Iron Goddess of Mercy. According to one of the legends of this type of tea’s origins, a humble tea farmer in Anxi County, Fujian, China, noticed a local temple had fallen into disrepair. He took it upon himself to clean it up, sweep it out, and then offer some incense to the goddess of Mercy, Guanyin. Shortly thereafter, the Goddess appeared to him in a dream. She told him that in the cave behind her temple a treasure awaited that he needed to share with others. When he investigated, he found the shoot of a tea tree. He planted the shoot in his field and nurtured it, the tea it produced was amazing! He gave cuttings of the tree to his neighbors far and wide. When all the tea trees came to fruition, they began selling it under the name “Tie Guanyin” to honor the goddess.

Whenever I’ve seen “Iron Goddess of Mercy” tea on a restaurant menu, I order it, I mean, who could resist such a name?

So I’ve sampled a few over the years.

But, I can’t say I’ve ever had any that even comes close to this one from
Yin xiang hua xia tea.

This is a darkly roasted Tie Guanyin. The base of the flavors and smells are similar to dark roasted grain, a bit like a dark beer or Japanese roasted barley tea. On top of that are layers of sweetness and orchid fragrance which perfume the tea pot and cup. The fragrance/taste of the tea is long lasting and haunting, but the perfume is not overpowering. Super elegant and incredibly well balanced.

Easily among the best Oolongs I have had so far.

#Tea #DrinkTea #Cha #Oolong #Fujian #Fuding #TieGuanyin #IronGoddessOfMercy #GongFuCha #YinXiangHuaXiaTea

Songya Mudan

Songya Mudan

2012 Songya Mudan from Yin xiang hua xia tea.

I mentioned when I ordered a couple teas from Yin Xiang Hua Xia Tea, they sent along a few samples. One was this mysterious entity, marked only in Chinese characters.

The single serving Chicklet/Tile shape intrigued me, but I couldn’t find anything very similar on their website.

Opening the package, it seemed like a white tea of some sort.

I sent a note off the the tea company asking what it was, but went ahead and brewed it at the slightly lower temps I use for white tea.

When I tasted it, I was pretty sure it was a white tea, as it reminded me strongly of Fujianese Bai Mudan or White Peony type tea.

It was quite tasty and surprisingly zippy, with the typical tasting notes you’d give a white tea. Light body, floral, yet earthy/minty flavors. Good length of aftertaste and a bit more re-steepability than you would expect from even a Bai Mudan.

I did eventually hear back from the company and find out the tea is what they call Songya Mudan from 2012. Songya Mudan is a classification of Fujianese white tea with fewer buds than Bai Mudan.

It’s important to note that the main classifications of white tea are based mostly on the ratio of buds to leaves, Silver Needle, White Peony, etc., and that they aren’t exactly related to quality of the tea. Instead, the amount of bud in the tea will affect the character of the brewed tea. In general, the more buds, the more subtle the flavor, the more leaves, the more white tea will taste like the flavors you normally associate with tea. There can be very good (and very bad) teas in any of these classifications, so it is more important to find an importer you trust, and whose taste matches yours, than to decide based solely on Silver Needle vs White Peony vs whatever. Also, Silver Needle teas, because of the increased labor involved with picking more buds per gram of tea, will be more expensive.

There’s an interesting saying that the Chinese have about White Teas:

“一年茶、三年药、七年宝” or “First Year it’s Tea, In the Third Year it’s Medicine, after Seven Years it’s Treasure”

So, finding out Yin xiang hua xia tea, had sent me not just a sample, but an actual “treasure” was quite a surprise!

As regards the medicinal claims for white tea, I will say while drinking so much White Tea through December and January, I was rarely ill, while those around me in the office fell prey repeatedly to colds and flus.

Another point of interest, because the leafier versions of White Tea are so fragile, it actually makes sense to buy it in cakes. The last time I ordered White Tea from China, it was opened and inspected by US Customs. I think unpacking and squeezing the white tea bags was among their priorities, so my tea arrived pretty crushed. If I had, instead, ordered white tea cakes, it might not have been as damaged.

#WhiteTea #SongyaMudan #Tea #Cha #YinXiangHuaXiaTea